Draw what you see NOT what you THINK you see [WHY CHARCOAL]

Draw what you see NOT what you THINK you see [WHY CHARCOAL]


– [Karen] Today, I
wanted to share with you this charcoal portrait drawing
that I did for my students over at the Fun Fab Drawing Club. And if this is the first
visit to your channel, welcome, my name is Karen Campbell and I’m a Mixed Media Artist, but I love to teach drawing
as well as mixed media because I think it just
gives a good background. No matter what direction
you wanna take your art in, there’s something here for everyone. So what is so, so unique to charcoal that I feel like is different
from every other medium is that it’s really to me feels much, much more like sculpting. It’s like when you work with clay, and I’m a terrible 3D artist,
but when you’re working with clay, you’re in
there and you’re molding and your hands are dirty
and you’re really creating from this 2D material something that really is
three dimensional in 3D. And I feel like charcoal
is exactly the same way. It’s the same feeling. You get in there, your hands are dirty. I do most of my blending with my fingers and not with a blending stick. And you really get that feeling of becoming one with your subject. In this case, it’s portraits. I like to draw faces and
portraits more than anything else. And you’re really carving into the paper with this very three dimensional medium just the shadows and the depth. And I really, really feel
really in tune with my portraits when I am creating in charcoal. I don’t have this experience
with any other medium. And I really suggest
you try it just one time because it just is such
a unique experience. It really is like finger painting. It’s very akin to being in kindergarten and having your finger paints out and really being one with your subject. I really enjoy teaching charcoal. And it’s so funny because
this is actually my first, my very first real time
tutorial teaching this. But it’s very timely with
the release of my new book, How to Draw and Find Your Style, because it’s all about values. And I love working with
charcoal specifically because you’re only creating
and recreating the values that you see in your photograph
or in your reference. So stripping it of color, staring at this black and white photo and really not even thinking
of your subject as the subject, so in this case as a portrait, I’m not even, my brain
is not even thinking of this as a face. I have to sit there and
I really am zeroing in on just the values and the
shapes that I’m looking at. So the eyes don’t become eyes anymore. They’re just a complex
series of shades of gray and black and white. So you have the proportions
that you have to first block in and that’s why I use
this charcoal filled sock to just get the ball rolling and to just get an idea
of the overall shape. If you go back to the
beginning of the video, you can see that. And then you start sculpting it. With an eraser, you can
carve out the proportion of the size of the oval of
the head to get started. And then very slowly
looking at your reference, and I have a huge, a whole
chapter on highlights and shadows in my new book that talks
about and I literally do this page by page going from
lightest to darkest and systematically trying
to recreate those values that you’re looking at
in your reference photo and interpreting them
and then recreating them on your own piece of paper. It’s almost like data entry
where you’re just almost like in a weird engineering kind of way, you’re recording the values that you see. So you’re recording the black
and you have to really see is this true, true black. And I would say, yes, like her hair buns on the side of her face in the photograph, in the black and white
reference are true, true black. So luckily the charcoal gives
you that true, true black like very few other materials. And I talk about the
value scale ad nauseum in my new book as well. And making sure if you’re
working with graphite to also make sure you
have a black pencil handy because without true black, you’re not gonna capture
the whole value scale. And the dimension that comes with successful portrait
and face drawings comes from really utilizing
the entire value scale. And I know I sound like a broken record, but that’s the truth of it. So systematically going through the face. So this nose is the
perfect example because it, on the photo if you’re
staring at this nose, it doesn’t even look like
a nose, which is good. In one hand, it’s very
scary because you’re saying that doesn’t even look
anything like a nose. How the heck am I gonna draw that? And what you really need to
do is silence your brain, go in with your laser
sharp observational skills and just simply try to recreate
the shapes and the shading. And that is it. So where is it on this weird object in the middle of this weird oval? Is it super, super dark and
where does that fade to gray? And where does the gray fade out to have a white, white highlight maybe at the tip of the nose? It’s so fascinating when you finally grasp that you’re not even drawing a face when you’re drawing a face. But in fact, you’re just
recording what your eye is seeing. We’re trying to record it
as well as you possibly can. And of course, it is not easy to do this. And look at her ear there
just came from erasing out, bringing back the highlight that was lost. I had too much charcoal down
and I took a tiny little eraser and I carved out the highlights that I saw in my reference photo. And whew, this ear just
appeared on the paper. So of course this is not easy. It’s not easy. But I think if you can retrain
your brain and have a mindset of this is not an advanced
face that I’m drawing, but it is a really great exercise in interpreting your photograph and really truly drawing what you see. So using a combination
of different erasers, you can really fine tune your details. My students over at the
Fun Fab Drawing Club get the advantage of
having this as a real time. It’s a two-hour lesson
and it’s totally unedited and raw footage, which means it’s just me talking the entire time through
every single line stroke and eraser cutout and
addition with a gel pen. Registration for the Fun Fab Drawing Club is only open two times a year and it actually closes today, which is Halloween 2019 and
it won’t reopen until Easter. So if you wanna hop in and take some really in-depth drawing lessons and I’m talking this is for all ages. So if you can’t draw a straight line and you’re only drawing
stick figures, I got you. The classes that are in the
Fun Fab Drawing Club start at the very, very baby beginning
and then you can progress slowly or over at your leisure and take an increasingly number of difficult drawing classes. And then I add new
advanced drawing classes every single month. So if you’re interested
in really learning more and fine tuning your drawing skills, today’s the last day you can sign up. Go to AwesomeArtSchool.com
and you can do it there. Other than that, of course,
every Friday on YouTube, I will have another free tutorial. I’m gonna have a mixed media
one coming up next week. So you can stay tuned for that. And if you wanna learn more
of my favorite drawing tips, you can click the playlist to watch more.

17 thoughts on “Draw what you see NOT what you THINK you see [WHY CHARCOAL]

  1. Karen she is gorgeous! I love what you have to say about not looking at your reference for what it is but focusing on the shapes.

  2. Karen I really love your videos! I am struggling with shading. For instance, in this portrait I see the face looking straight out yet the shading is heavier/darker on the left. Why? I'm really struggling here. Thanks for all the great videos and any advice you can offer.

  3. Blew me away!!! I always try to draw what I see… not what I think it is. Especially in doing art from real life. Comes into play for me when I do my coffee shop people drawings.

  4. This picture is striking. Youโ€™ve done amazing job! Canโ€™t wait to see it in real time – first I need to find a … sock ๐Ÿงฆ ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™ˆ. Finally the powder charcoal I had for years found its use! Thank You! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐ŸŽจ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ’•

  5. I love love love charcoal! Iโ€™m working on a mixed media piece of Frieda Kahlo and am petrified to draw/paint in the eyes! Not feeling confident enough to capture them. So, I bought your new book and am waiting by the door for it to arrive today ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ‘€

  6. Hi Karen!
    Charcoal has always intimidated me. This really helps! Iโ€™ve been watching ur videos forever and im so impressed how much theyโ€™ve improved. Ur talent amazes me ๐Ÿ’•
    Hugs,
    Lin

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